Story telling… My way!


14/12/2011 by Siddiqui Fayesal

We’ve all read or seen stories. Good stories. Bad stories. Long stories. Short stories. Stories with a drab ending and stories with a twist in the last dialogue. Stories where the lead is the “Hero” and stories where the Hero is actually the villain (???). Stories where the “Hero” dies and where the “Heroine” finds out the the father of her unborn child is actually her husband’s/boyfriend’s brother/friend/uncle or whatever!

But one thing about these stories  is pretty much static. They almost always, 9.999 out of 10, follow the rigid protocol where the main actor is always aligned to the main story! The number of such main actors are fixed before hand. they may range from 1 or 2 to 9 or10. But they’re always fixed by their progenitors. And more often than not the characters follow the story conceived. My personal opinion is that in any good book or a movie the characters bring to life even the most ordinary of stories! For me its always the characters who get a ring side audience of my cynical self compared to the story. I’m not saying that stories are not important. Hell, they’re important. If not for them the characters are worthless! But can you imagine “Wuthering Heights” without a fire cracker Catherine or the somber, dark but alluring Heathcliff?

No. The book wouldn’t’ve been worth as much if not for the characters. Its not only the good ol’ classics that I speak about. Take Harry Potter. Without the gigantic (gay or not) but humble personality of Albus Dumbledore; the inquisitive and the curious bravery of Harry; the irrepressible intellect of Hermione or the loyalty of Ronald the book wouldn’t be what it turned out to be!

So what I’m trying to say is that how about a story where the character’s importance keep shifting. If in one scene the “Hero” is the “main” character he need not be the main character after a few pages! The importance , or uniqueness, would be shifted upon a rather “unimportant” character who suddenly takes up the challenge of carrying the story upon his not-so-important shoulders! The story evolves and aligns itself upon the path taken by the character. His whereabouts define the setting of the story; his ideas define the stories direction! It would be an amazing work of art for the writer who does this and pulls it off with aplomb.

For example, take a scene where the “Hero” is running behind a chain snatcher busy playing the hero. He subsequently succeeds.  Instead of taking the story forward by showing a graphic make out session with this victim of the snatching why cannot we follow that nondescript bald pot bellied by-stander who the “Hero” pushes aside in his final endeavor  to nab the robber?

In my version, the story’d probably go like this: The pot bellied guy is a porter working at the local railway station and he recognised the snatcher as his wife’s far away nephew who had ran away from his hometown in the hilly regions of Rajasthan four years back. Now, what I’d do was i’d follow the baldy all the way home and demonstrated what was going through in his head! How he’d tell his wife, How he thought she’d react, whether she’d want him to help him out, the works.

And, after the sequence with his wife i’d get an eavesdropper from the nearby shanty involved. the curious moron would hear it all and move towards his circle of friends to loosen his tongue (yes, guys do this a lot!!!).  The next scene would involve a young guy from the same circle of friends walking away from his father, who is a fast friend of the “eavesdropper”, and running away to a lonely shack above the towns only bar.

Lo! He’d meet the robber there and tell him that his aunt lives close by. The guy would expect the robber, who’d probably go by the name of “Rameswaraj”, to be elated but Nooooooo… He’s agitated!

I’m not gonna complete the sequence for the obvious reason that I wanna use this some place else:-p

The Power of Intellectual creativity!

Anyway, by doing this I agree that the story would be fragmented. But i’m not here to tell you a story. I’m here to recreate! And anyway, as a story teller and a writer it is my JOB to construct a fine, but strong, thread of coordination between the characters and story. It is part of my business to seam the fragmented and crude material into a smooth trousseau. As a writer it is my priority and duty to make a story out of the characters and not to make characters run upon the story!

There are many who will either say that what i’m saying is crap and there will be some who would say that there is a very very minor difference between the two. I agree with the latter and I don’t have anything to say the former. Now, to the people who say that there is a very fine difference i’d say yes, to some extent. The outcome is totally writer based. The intention with which the writer has penned those words in his story is the deciding factor whether he has written a character-centric story or a situation-centric story!

If the characters in a character-centric story are not sharp and edgy the reader would not realise that the story was written for the character and NOT vice versa! And if the characters in situation based story are so cunningly written that they are super imposed upon the story then the reader would be sure that the story was written for the characters and NOT vice versa. Its totally dependant on the craft and the cunning and the perfection of the writer to make his readers accept and like and think exactly what he wants them to accept, like and think!

Around a year and a half back I had posted “Jealousy” about something similar. Even in that I had written about the writers intention should be equated, frequency to frequency; chord by chord, to that of the reader! If the writer is not good with the pen then the difference matters only to him because of his intention. Whether the audience can gauge it or not depends on their skill and knack of judging accurately!

To the reader there might be no difference at all if the characters are not flamboyantly different and above the strict ordinary. If the characters are just made the centre of the story by not giving it any new edge or brilliance with such singularity that has not been seen or heard then the reader will definitely not realise the difference between a character-centric story and a Situation-centric story. But its the writer I’m talking about!

Its the writers intention of writing that I’m talking about!  If I happen to write a book after some years and i get a chance to write another…then another i’ll really try this out! To create my characters before hand, to hand over their responsibilities clearly before hand and then, only then, do I think how to sew them together!

As I write this I suddenly am reminded of Aamir Khan’s Dhobi Ghat. Brilliant movie. See, that’s what i’m talking about! It doesn’t get better than that. What characters! The story is running in the back ground like a soft hum of the rotor blades of a magnificent Jet. It’s presence cannot be ignored but the Jet is what is MORE important. Each and every character speaks loud and clear! Each and every character has Life and a Soul! When you See that movie you don’t see the story… you Hear the characters!

A writer’s job is to tell people what he thinks. Its a responsible job being a writer. Personally speaking writers are meant to be rebellious. They’re NOT here to let the audience draw their own conclusions. They’re here to tell us what THEY think. Agreeing or not is a separate thing all together!

Give me the power of the Pen… and I’ll give up the sword with pride!

Siddiqui F.

PS: Photograph by Jayesh Rawal, our very own in-house photographer:-)

10 thoughts on “Story telling… My way!

  1. Read the first story in my book. Then read the book. Then tell me about my characters and stories.

  2. Regrading your writing, I would say, it caught me early on. I already agree with the character thing. Stories can be weaved endlessly around strong characters. That’s how comic superheroes exist. That’s how series like Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew exist. You know the characters and you can tell unlimited stories about them. For me, personally, the characters are much more stronger than the story. A story ‘happens’ when characters are made. As far as your writing is concerned, you write good, honest. In a way that is easy to understand and your writing flows smooth. It is very easy to read what you wrote. Unlike my writing 😛 But u drag after the initial point you make. After a while u lost me coz you didn’t say anything different after you had made your character point. I say, keep the writing to the point. Everything else is in good order!

  3. bushra says:

    dogmatic… listen cut out the bloody gyan ..give me blood..i mean get me the rest of the story…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  • 11,238 hits

Click! Click! Click!

Join 234 other followers

Jump to…




You will die the way you lived.

Aamil Syed

altered reality

The Mundane

Finding poetry in the ordinary.


...a whole buncha Tian'ness.


book reviews and more...


Indian Book Blogger | Poet | Short Story Writer

Get Out Harish

The world within three walls


لفلسطين الحرية

Murphy's Law

Musings from a Literacy Coach

Literature Is My Porn

"She read books as one would breathe air, to fill up and live."

Three Magical

Welcome to the inside of my head.

Scattered Brain

Musings about life and politics


Bridge the Gap , Bring the Change

| Ramble On |

And now's the time, the time is now, to sing my song

Unbound Boxes Limping Gods

The writer gives life to a story, the reader keeps it alive.

Ashish Shakya

Writer. Stand-Up Comic. Gulab Jamun Enthusiast.

schizophrenic dreams

It is Dark, and I like it that way...


... well we're going to die anyway!

Pulp & Fiction

We all change when you think about it. We’re all different people, all through our lives, and that’s okay, that’s good. You gotta keep moving, so long as you remember all the people that you used to be.

reading interrupted.

because reading also involves the way your head rests on your hand as you lean over a book, the damp mark you leave on a page when reading in the tub, or being interrupted by a

--- Grumpy Comments ---



Sharing knowledge benificial for duniya & akhira

Dad, the idiot

anchoring households for thousands of years

Yeha, Whatever

I'll write it anyway.

My Musings

Simply Put....its a conglomeration of my thoughts as & when they occur

%d bloggers like this: